COVID-19: Information for Older Adults

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It is recommended that people over 70 stay home as much as possible. The Government of Ontario is also recommending that people who have compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions, or are regularly going to a hospital or health care setting for treatment, stay home and get help with essential errands. 


Things You Can Do to Keep Yourself Healthy

Older adults have an increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, but can also be negatively impacted by social isolation.  There are general infection prevention and control measures that should be used to decrease the spread and impact of the disease, but mental health needs to be balanced as well. Here are some things older adults can do to keep themselves healthy:



With older adults being at higher risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19, it is important that they:

  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Avoid local public transportation if possible, as it is difficult to physically distance from others.

For more information visit the Travel page.


If You’re Not Feeling Well

If you are not feeling well and think you may have COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Call the TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 294-6630.
  • Call 911 if you are in need of immediate medical attention.


Health Care Provider Appointments

If you need to see your Health Care Provider (ie: Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, etc.):

  • Call your Health Care Provider first before attending your appointment to see how they will continue with the appointment.
  • If you are unable to access your Health Care Provider for your appointments and you need medical attention, you can try Cover.Health which is an online (virtual health) walk in clinic.


Ask for Help

  • Ask for help getting essential supplies, like groceries, household items and medications.
  • Check with your local pharmacy and grocery store for special senior hours and/or delivery options.
  • If you have a favourite restaurant call to see if they offer senior discounts, take-out and/or delivery.
  • Call 211 or visit for services available for older adults in your area such as food banks, grocery stores, taxes, mental health services and so forth.


Food Programs for Older Adults

These are some free/low cost meal or food hamper options for older adults in need.  Things are constantly changing - call 211 or visit to find out more.


    Dealing with Stress and Feeling Safe

    Sometimes during a crisis, people can feel stressed. To help deal with stress, do things to support yourself:

    • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink lots of fluids.
    • Try to get some fresh air and sunlight daily by opening curtains and/or windows or going outside.
    • Try some activities you enjoy.  For information on At-Home Activity Kits for care providers and seniors, check out the information in this poster
    • Connect with others over the phone or by social media. Check out the service "A Friendly Voice" for seniors who may be feeling lonely or isolated and want to talk to someone.
    • Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
    • Remember, that the crisis of this situation will settle down and we will adjust to our new normal.


    Financial Stress from COVID-19

    Financial losses due to COVID-19 can be overwhelming. With closing of businesses, job layoffs, and confusing requirements for relief benefits, it can be hard to know what to do. Know that you are not alone and so Thunder Bay Counselling is now offering a new service to help. Free financial counselling is now available and can help you understand and navigate COVID-19 supports, loans, and other options.

    For more information, visit or call (807) 684-1880 to speak to a financial counsellor.


    Caring for Older Adults

    • If you live with or know any older adults, ask how you can help them.
      • See if they need anything picked up for them, such as medication refills, groceries, cleaning products or other supplies they may need.
      • Ask if they need any meals prepared, a dog walked, or if there is anything else you can do for them.
    • Respect their ability to make decisions about their needs.
    • Phone calls, texts or other ways people prefer to communicate can be used to just chat or see how they are doing will help them to feel connected.
    • Consider added them to your social circle, keeping in mind their physical and mental health status and their risk of developing complications from COVID-19.
    • Talking about positive things will help to alleviate stress and fear.
    • DO NOT VISIT if you are not feeling well for any reason or if you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.


    Resuming Visits for Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes and Other Residential Settings

    The Ontario government has allowed the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings.  Read more in the news release Ontario to Resume Family Visits in Long-Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, and Other Residential Care Settings.

    To book an appointment for a COVID-19 test when required to visit your loved one, please contact the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1 (888) 294-6630.



    Additional Resources

    NEW Keeping Seniors' Benefits Safe from Fraudsters - Age Friendly Thunder Bay

    Age Friendly Thunder Bay COVID-19 Newsletters

    How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 for Older Adults and People with Chronic Medical Conditions and Weakened Immune Systems (Public Health Ontario - English PDF)

    Things to Do While Physical Distancing for Older Adults (English PDF)

    Mental Wellness during COVID-19 for Elders and Seniors (English PDF)

    At-Home Activity Kits for Care Providers and Seniors (English PDF)

    Tips for how to improve communication when talking on the phone with someone who has a hearing loss (PDF)

    Watch TBDHU's Educational Videos on COVID-19 on your television on the following channels:

    • TBaytel On Demand (OnDemand- Local Content- COVID-19- Covid19 Tips)
    • Shaw Channel 10 and 105 (for those with BlueSky Boxes)
    Last Updated: 22/07/2020